In an interview with VGC, Bryan Walker, who was director of development and a producer at Retro, revealed an interesting tidbit about early plans regarding Metroid Prime 3. Walker mentioned that Metroid Prime’s series direction, Mark Pacini, came up with quite an interesting concept to make Metroid Prime 3 open world.
While Metroid Prime 3 had Samus’ gunship take on a more active role compared to previous games, there were initially plans to make the gunship even more integral to the game.
Mark came forward with an interesting twist in the vision and some of the formulas for Metroid Prime 3, compared to Metroid Prime 2. We wanted to a great degree leverage the ship as a playable asset, and we had that to some degree in Prime 3 but Mark was thinking much more ambitiously.
Bryan Walker via VGC
Samus would use her gunship to travel around a less linear open world map, something that the team was excited about.
However, as we all know, the game ended up not being an open-world experience. And the main reason for that was the limitations of the Nintendo Wii’s hardware.
Many of the plans for the gunship was discarded and instead replaced with scripted ship sequences in the final version of the game.
We knew what the Xbox 360 was going to have, when knew what the PS3 was going to have and the initial specs we were looking at [for Wii] were not competitive from a hardware and memory standpoint… there were all these disadvantages.
Bryan Walker via VGC
While Metroid Prime 3 ended up being a great game regardless, one can only wonder if these concepts have been picked up for Metroid Prime 4, a game we still currently know very little about.
Bryan Walker left Retro Studios in 2012 while Mark Pacini departed the company on 2008, so it’s unsure if the plans Pacini had come up with would have been picked up by its current developers.
Personally, an open world Metroid Prime game would definitely be interesting, but it would be very difficult to see how it can do so while maintaining what makes Metroid games so great. We’ll have to wait and see for more details about Prime 4.
Until then, Metroid Dread comes out on October 8 for the Nintendo Switch.